Game can help weight loss

27 June 2015

A new computer game could help people better control their weight by restricting their snacking.

Psychologists at the University of Exeter and Cardiff University have published a study that found that participants lost an average of 0.7kg and consumed around 220 fewer calories a day during the week-long training exercise.

Led by Dr Natalia Lawrence, researchers developed a simple online computer game that trains people to resist unhealthy snack foods. The game requires people to repeatedly avoid pressing on pictures of certain images of bad food, while responding to other images such as fruit or clothes.

They found that this training could reduce the amount of food people eat in laboratory tests. It was also good at limiting the amount of calorie-dense 'stop' foods were liked.

In addition, this reduction in weight and unhealthy snacking was maintained six months after the study according to participants' self-report.

Dr Lawrence of the University of Exeter, lead researcher in both the original research and the new studies, said: "These findings are among the first to suggest that a brief, simple computerised tool can change people's everyday eating behaviour."

Posted by Edward Bartel

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